Where to Celebrate Black History Month with Westchester Kids

Black History Month, African American, Yonkers, New Rochelle, White Plains, Peekskill, Croton-on-Hudson

February is Black History Month and Westchester is bustling with ways to learn about and celebrate African-American heritage. 

The origin of Black History Month can be traced to back to 1926, when it was founded by Harvard historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now ASALH) as a week-long event. Woodson, who selected February because it coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, was troubled by the inequality in black education. The event was expanded into a month-long honor in 1976 by President Gerald Ford, and, since then, every U.S. president has issued Black History Month proclamations. (We will see if our new president follows suit.) 

All month long throughout Westchester, you'll find family-friendly ways to learn about and celebrate the contributions of African-Americans throughout our country's history. Below are some of of our favorite Black History Month events, almost all of which are FREE. Read on, and then visit our Event Calendar for other great happenings throughout Westchester this month!

Exploring African-American Traditions Through Children’s Books - New Rochelle
Thursday, February 2 and Thursday, February 16, 2017
Children and adults can attend individual workshops that explore the messages delivered in children's picture books with African-American themes. Attend one or both of the programs, but take note that that registration is required for each. FREE

A Musical Tribute to Motown – Yonkers
Saturday, February 4, 2017
This Black History Month celebration will host Cody Childs & the Ladies of Soul in a musical tribute to Motown. FREE

Black History Month Celebration – Nyack
Saturday, February 4, 2017
This evening celebration will feature songs, stories and more under the theme of “Celebrating Hope – The Legacy of the Obamas.” Finalists of the MLK Oratory Contest will read their material. FREE

Family Studio Art Projects – Yonkers
Saturdays and Sundays: February 4-5, 11-12. 18-19, 25-26, 2017 
February’s family project at the Hudson River Museum will include learning about the quilts African-American slaves used to tell their histories. Participants will make their own quilts with fabric and paper. The project is included with the museum entrance fee. 

Drum Circle - Elmsford 
Sunday, February 5, 2017
Learn about African-American history while playing drums with John Grady and his drummers. Registration is required. FREE 

Long Walk Home - Yonkers
Friday, February 10, 2017
The Yonkers Public Library will screen this film, which focuses on the Martin Luther King, Jr.-led Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. FREE

I am not Your Negro - Yonkers
Friday, February 17, 2017
The Alamo Drafthouse will screen this movie at two different times. The film, which is rated PG-13 and stars Samuel L. Jackson, is an adaptation from the writings of James Baldwin. 

Addy’s Quilt - White Plains
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Leverage your child’s love of American Girl dolls to teach a lesson about African-American slavery, followed by a no-sew craft.

African Dance Class - New Rochelle
Saturday, February 25, 2017
A series of seven African dance workshops for kids and adults culminates with a performance that shows off what they’ve learned. The students are joined on the stage by their teachers—members of the Bokandeye Troupe. Although participants were encouraged to attend all seven classes, those seeking to join late can be accommodated. FREE

West African Drum Circle - Croton-on-Hudson
Saturday, February 25, 2017
This program, which is designed with children in mind but open to all ages, will teach how to play rhythms on a variety of traditional West African drums. FREE

In addition to these events, an ongoing photography exhibit at The Field Library in Peekskill will feature the work of Leonard Freed, who captured the 1963 March on Washington. Meanwhile, the New Rochelle Public Library will highlight the lives of 16 notable local residents in a special, month-long exhibit.  

Don't forget to visit our Event Calendar for more great events and follow us on Facebook

Photo credit: Cody Childs & the Ladies of Soul

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